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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1997202/307-0703


WASHINGTON, DC -- For the first time, the State of Nevada is eligible to receive a federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) victim compensation grant. Nevada became eligible to receive $635,000 in federal funds from the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) for Fiscal Year 1998 after the state amended its victim compensation statute in June of this year.

"We're pleased that Nevada now joins the other 49 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands in being eligible to receive an annual federal victim compensation grant award," said OVC Director Aileen Adams. "This means there will be more money to reimburse victims in Nevada for their medical and counseling bills, time lost from work and, tragically, sometimes, funeral expenses that result from the crime."

Nevada will receive a funding application from OVC this month and the actual grant award will be made early next year. In addition, Nevada is eligible to receive an additional $1.98 million in federal funds to support local victim assistance programs.

Money for victim compensation grants comes from the Crime Victims Fund, which is administered by OVC and supports programs for crime victims with money paid in fines by federal criminal offenders -- not taxpayers. Fines collected in one year by U.S. Attorneys, the

U.S. Courts and Bureau of Prisons are deposited into the Fund and are available for grant awards in the following year. Fund deposits for 1997 totaled just under $363 million.

Participating state compensation programs are eligible to receive annual federal victim compensation grant awards equal to forty percent of the state's total payout to crime victims in the previous year. Compensation programs work similarly to private insurance funds, reimbursing victims of crime directly for such crime-related expenses as medical treatment, counseling, funeral costs and lost wages.

Nevada's statutory changes will allow non-residents to be compensated for crimes occurring within the state. They will also enable OVC to provide significant support to the state should there be cases involving terrorism or mass violence. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 amended VOCA to include a new eligibility requirement that each state cover its own residents who are injured or killed in crimes involving terrorism.

For more information about the Office for Victims of Crime, visit OVC's World Wide Web site at or the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) web site at Or, call the Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center at 800/627-6872. Call OVC at 202/307-5983 or OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703 for additional information about the victim compensation grant program.



After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534 or page on 888/582-6750